It’s been more than three years since J.J. Abrams first revealed his involvement in video game adaptations of Portal and Half-Life, but there have been very few updates about either project thus far. While promoting 10 Cloverfield Lane this spring, the filmmaker teased that both projects are still in development, with writers currently working on the scripts, but he didn’t identify these scribes quite yet. During the red carpet premiere of Westworld this week, J.J. Abrams not only confirmed that Portal is still in development, but he hopes there will be an official announcement soon.
J.J. Abrams first made the announcement about both Portal and Half-Life movies at the 2013 DICE convention with Gabe Newell, the co-founder Valve, which developed both of the hit games. After three years of development, it seems that Bad Robot and Valve have moved forward enough that an official announcement is imminent. Here’s what J.J. Abrams had to say about the upcoming Portal movie, during a red carpet interview with IGN.
“They are very much still in development. We have a meeting coming up next week with Valve, we’re very active, I’m hoping that there will be a Portal announcement fairly soon. We are having some really interesting discussions with writers, many of whom are, like, crazy-obsessed. Once you say you’re doing a movie or show about a specific thing that is a known quantity, it’s an amazing thing how you start to find people who are rabid about these things. As someone who loves playing Half-Life and Portal, what’s the movie of this, it’s incredible when you talk to someone who just ‘gets’ it, it’s like, oh my god, it’s really the seed for this incredible tree you’re growing. I look forward to be able to talk about it, and announce who’s working on it.”
While it remains to be seen when Portal will hit the big screen, the video game played an interesting role in the development of this spring’s 10 Cloverfield Lane, which J.J. Abrams produced. The film was directed by Dan Trachtenberg, who made his directorial debut with that film after his 2011 fan film Portal: No Escape went viral. While video game adaptations have typically flopped at the box office, Warcraft’s immense international success (despite tanking at the domestic box office) and the highly-anticipated Assassin’s Creed may in fact revitalize the genre for good.
The Portal video game debuted in 2007 from the Valve Corporation. The game consists of a series of puzzles that must be solved by teleporting the player’s character and simple objects using “the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device”, a device that can create inter-spatial portals between two flat planes. The main character Chell is challenged by an artificial intelligence named GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) to complete each puzzle in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center using the portal gun with the promise of receiving cake when all the puzzles are completed. Fans may recall that Guillermo del Toro used the GlaDOS voice in his 2013 action-thriller Pacific Rim, because he was such a big fan of the game. Take a look at J.J. Abrams’ video interview below for Portal.